Vans RV-10 Vs. Sling 4

Discussion in 'Home Builders and Sport Pilots' started by easik, May 6, 2018.

  1. easik

    easik Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I recently reviewed both these aircraft and I think some of the stats do stack up against each other depending on who’s looking and what you’re comparing. Here are somethings to consider

     
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  2. tsts4

    tsts4 Line Up and Wait

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    Nice review, both are nice aircraft but these planes aren’t in the same class. Kinda like comparing a 172 to a 182. Yeah superficially they look the same, but the comparison ends there.

    Also IMO your logic on speed vs cost is a bit flawed. If I throttled my RV-10 back to fly at Sling speeds, my fuel burn would be similar. However the Sling can’t throttle up to match my cruise speed. I can do an 800 NM trip (no wind) in 5-1/2 hours, even with one 20 min fuel stop @ 160 TAS, burning 12GPH, at a GW of 2700lbs (useful 1050lbs). I fly this distance real world 4-5 times a year. I plan for an IFR endurance of 4 hrs giving me a comfortable hour reserve which gives me a no-wind, unrefueled IFR range of 640NM. In practice though I rarely fly legs longer than 2-1/2 to 3 hours as the limiting factor is my bladder.

    The workload of managing a CS prop is minimal. Yes the Sling and Cirrus both automated the process, but that advantage is minimal in my book. YMMV...

    As for cost, while you can build an RV-10 in the $115K range, it would be very modest and most likely VFR only. I’d say the typical finished RV-10 costs north of $160K. Mine certainly did and my 10 isn’t anything special. If you are using online calculators for ballpark costs, take those with a huge grain of salt.

    Something that you didn’t mention but should be part of every builder’s calculus is support: both from the kit manufacturer and the builder community. I know nothing about Sling, but Van’s is pretty good and the builder community is second to none. There didn’t get to be over 10,000 RVs flying for no reason.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
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  3. iflyvfr

    iflyvfr Cleared for Takeoff

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    I agree with you Todd and I enjoyed the review. Two handsome aircraft. The only nit I'd pick is comparing these 2 to a 172/182 combo. The performance difference seems much wider than that, perhaps akin to a 182 vs a Cirrus?
     
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  4. easik

    easik Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You both are right. But I think there is more to compare. Both these aircraft fit similar mission profile and they cost about the same, both the kit and used. The RV-10 is the better performer hands down. But the Sling 4 is expected to be fitted with the New Rotax 915 later this year (hoping to see it at Oshkosh). Cruise speed with the new engine is said to be in the range of 140kt to 150kt while still burning the same amount of fuel. 170 mph makes a strong statement against 200 mph if I'm only burning half the gas and my operating cost is much lower.
    That said, you are correct; Vans has an extensive community and their line of aircraft is well vetted across the world. Doesn't necessary translate to better customer support though. Just speaking from personal experience, I've met some great RV builders and owners and for the most part they've been very welcoming. I haven't had the most pleasant experience dealing with a Vans rep directly. Airplane factory on the other hand have been overwhelmingly generous with their time and support.
     
  5. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    The guys at Vans aren't there to donate their time so you can get more youtube hits.
     
  6. easik

    easik Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Right! Except I'm also a potential customer who is seriously interested in building one of these aircraft.
     
  7. tsts4

    tsts4 Line Up and Wait

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    If you are truly in the market to purchase, not sure what you want to really accomplish with this comparison since you seem to have your mind made up IMO. If you’re looking for some sort of validation of your choice, you aren’t going to get it. Simply pull the trigger and never look back --there’s no right or wrong answer. Having said that, building is not an panacea for ownership. Since cost appears to be your #1 concern, renting is hands downs the cheapest way to fly. Of course renting has obvious limitations. The next option is a club membership which can address some of the rental shortcomings. If you really want to be an owner then a partnership could be the ticket. Then there’s single ownership and nice used aircraft that meet the mission profile with less acquisition cost are out there and you could be flying tomorrow. These all have pros and cons that have been exhaustively discussed here and on other forums. If in the end you want to build, do so with the mindset that you want to enjoy the journey. If what you really want to do is fly, then skip building and buy something already flying, be it E-AB or Standard Certificated.

    At the end of the day, these 2 aircraft aren’t equal (beyond the obvious low wing, 4 seat stuff), so it’s not an apples to apples comparison—more orange to tangerine at best. The RV-10 is the better X/C platform but its acquisition and operating costs are more as increased performance comes at a price. If cost is indeed your number one concern, go with the Sling, but buying a good used aircraft would be the most economical choice from an acquisition perspective.
     
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  8. jaymark6655

    jaymark6655 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not apples to apples? They are both aircraft, they are both home built, and they are both 4 seat. Any closer than that, what would be the point of doing a comparison? Granny Smith versus Macintosh.
    Pros for each based on my research:

    RV-10
    Speed
    Climb Performance
    Online Community
    Useful Load
    Wider Cockpit

    Sling 4
    Price
    Build Time
    Looks (not just me but most of my friends)
    Range (if you can hold it long enough; the difference is about 60 nautical miles, but it take 2 hours longer)
    Cheaper Engine and Prop Overhaul/Replacement
    Ballistic Chute (if your into that kind of thing)

    To me fuel consumption is a wash, because you can almost slow the RV-10 down to Sling cruise speeds for almost near the same fuel consumption.
    For customer service I am not sure about TAF, but have never had a bad experience with Van's. So it wouldn't be fair for me to judge them on that.

    Either one is at least equal to or better the C172 that I learned in for every category, especially the looks and both are better than the CH640 in my opinion (really a two seat aircraft with rear seats in the luggage area).
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
  9. tsts4

    tsts4 Line Up and Wait

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    Nope IMO. I stand by my orange to tangerine comparison. YMMV......
     
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  10. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Meh, they're both trikes, getting a trike that isn't a RG and can't at least hit 200kts doesn't make sense to me anyways.
     
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  11. N1120A

    N1120A Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'm not particularly interested in building a plane, but this video did a good job convincing me that an RV-10 would be the better choice. The video leaves out that you can run that RV-10 engine LOP and save a bunch of gas without losing a ton of speed. Of course, it did an even better job of convincing me that a pre-owned Mooney or Saratoga is the way to go.
     
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  12. OkieAviator

    OkieAviator Pattern Altitude

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    Mike I like your videos... I generally like any aviation video that just isn't some dude taking off and landing in a 172.

    Like some others I am having a hard time grasping the comparison. The 10 will out perform the Sling in every category. Costs I would suggest getting some real costs when you do these video, the Vans costs are bare minimum and I don't know about the Sling but I assume it's similar and as you start adding options you add to both your build time and cost. As a comparison I'm adding about everything I can think of to my build and my cost is going to be twice what you quoted. If I decided to add a BRS system there's another $30K right there. However at the end of the day I'll have something that performs and has similar options to the SR22 at literally a quarter of the price.

    However like any experimental if you're buying on the secondary market it's a crap shoot on what's out there. I've seen a few experimental that were flying that had questionable quality.
     
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  13. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    You can throttle an IO-540 back to burn just 6 gph at 110 kts? I didn't think it would burn 6 gph at idle.

    But then if speed vs fuel is your concern, you'd probably go with an RV-8, which is cheaper, faster and can run on a O-360 (or O-320 with a 13 kt speed difference).
     
  14. tsts4

    tsts4 Line Up and Wait

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    No, but I did say "similar" not "exact" (of course I applied a liberal interpretation :p). I've never tried holding 110KTS at X/C altitudes, but I have data from approaches at 3000 MSL and my burn at that speed and altitude averaged 9.5 GPH. I can only see 6 GPH at 90KTS which is pattern speed for me. So the Sling beats the 10 for endurance no matter how you slice it even though the 10 carries 12 more gal of fuel.

    The RV-8 reference is irrelevant because were talking 4-place aircraft, not the best aircraft for speed vs fuel consumption. Kinda hard to compete if you have to make the same trip 3 times to move the same amount of pax.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  15. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    Great job Mike! Tough comparison but about as well done as it can be done.

    Support, sales and build support? Let’s face it, Vans believes that the engineering sells and supports itself, which is another way of saying it can suck if you are looking for blue ribbon consumer product support. But the numbers speak for themselves; RVs do sell and support themselves, a marvel of the modern age, particularly in terms of the builder community.

    The 172/182 comparison is a good one. It’s not just speed and lifting capability... well actually it is. Out climbing some ice or speeding around a front is often what real life travel is about. I flew a 180hp Maule for a couple of thousand hours that has about the same numbers as the Sling except it burns 3-4 GPH more and is so ugly it’s almost cute. Slow is not just slow, it’s frequently “I just can’t get there today”.

    6 GPH at 90knots is about right for the 10, if you can get someone to actually spend an hour flying like that voluntarily.


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  16. Andrew Morris

    Andrew Morris Filing Flight Plan

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    Hey y’all, here’s an update on the Sling 4 TSi numbers with the 915 iS.
     

    Attached Files:

  17. JDACO

    JDACO Pre-Flight

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    I like the support from VANS. Always on the numbers!
     
  18. easik

    easik Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I take you're building an RV? Congrats!
     
  19. easik

    easik Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Interesting numbers for the new TSi, particularly the rate of climb @ 1600 fpm. Eco cruise @ 135kts is still much behind the RV-10. But again burning half the amount of fuel per hour is something to think about. Ultimately it'll come down to the overall cost per mile and how much time you're saving with the additional 30-40 knots you get in the RV.
    I still think the Sling is a great contender. Thanks for sharing Andrew.
     
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  20. Challenged

    Challenged Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm amazed at the number of people who seem to have the ingredients that it takes to build an experimental aircraft: Interest, Money, Time/Patience, Space, Tooling and Mechanical Skill/Knowledge. The idea would be much more intriguing to me if it wasn't possible to simply purchase an airplane that's just as capable as the end result of all that effort, and for significantly less money (putting on my flame suit for that last sentence).
     
  21. tsts4

    tsts4 Line Up and Wait

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    That’s why the typical mantra in the community is if you want to build, build. If you just want to fly then buy. Building simply isn’t for everyone and you really have to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. And outside of the 2-week to taxi type programs, shouldn’t be looked at as some type of shortcut to ownership. However, I can tell you the feeling you get flying something you built is priceless and can’t be replicated flying something someone else built.

    As for cost, your argument really only holds water when you compare used to new. When you compare new to new with similar performance it skews heavily towards E-AB.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  22. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pre-takeoff checklist

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    One of the first things anyone ever told me about aircraft ownership is its not the cost of buying them, its the cost of flying them. Experimentals tend to be significantly cheaper to maintain. Especially if you're the builder.

    Something else I didn't see mentioned in the sling vs rv10 comparison. The sling can run on mogas. Even if you throttle the rv10 back to sling fuel burn (and very few people actually will), it will still cost more to fly as compared to mogas in the sling.
     
  23. tsts4

    tsts4 Line Up and Wait

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    You can run 91 Octane MOGAS in a 540 with standard compression pistons no problem.
     
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  24. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I did not know that. Is mogas what most RV10 owners are using?
     
  25. tsts4

    tsts4 Line Up and Wait

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    No and I’m not either but my IO-540-D4A5 with 8.5:1 pistons is certified down to 91 Octane along with a slew of other models. There’s a Lycomming SI that spells all this out but the number escapes me as I’m on my phone at OSH at the moment.

    Have you ever bought MOGAS at an airport?
     
  26. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Nope I expect I'd have to truck it in if I went that route, but its doable.
     
  27. tsts4

    tsts4 Line Up and Wait

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    It’s definitely doable. I would think the hard part would be finding a source for premium leaded mogas. Don’t think a whole lot of places sell it anymore.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2018
  28. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    No and as a practical matter I have seen little sign that Mogas is a practical fuel for cross country traveling.


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  29. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    You won't find it often, but it is practical for local flying and for the first leg of your XC. That covers 80% for most people, but it is a pita to have to carry it to your home field in 5 gallon cans or whatever.
     
  30. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    When I moved onto my residential Airpark years ago we didn’t have fuel. I had no idea what a pain not having fuel on the field was. Mogas was really attractive.

    Then the owners invested in a private fuel tank and it changed everything. Given the level of investment and effort required to maintain a fuel farm I consider my use of it mandatory. A flight school operating on the field opted for Mogas. I heard complaints. I don’t know if there was a connection but the owners kicked them out not too long after.


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  31. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I didn't say it was. My mission includes regular 600-800nm XC's but that's only part of it. For me, the ability to haul in cheap fuel would likely mean more local fun flights than I otherwise would take. More fun flights equals more proficiency and more proficiency is a positive no matter how you look at it.
     
  32. tsts4

    tsts4 Line Up and Wait

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    I took a long look at the Sling today and it’s a real nice airplane. The cabin is definitely smaller and IMO more difficult to get into. The BRS chute consumes more than half of the baggage compartment which without the chute is at least a third and maybe as much as 45-50% smaller than a 10’s (this is by mark I eyeball assessment).
     
  33. Cluemeister

    Cluemeister Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I think that Sling 4 is going to be a winner. Rotax 915 fuel injected, 145 knots true, two week builder assist, and all decked out about $220k.
     
  34. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer Pattern Altitude

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    leaded mogas? You mean ethanol free mogas? Marinas are a good place to find that
     
  35. Cluemeister

    Cluemeister Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have no problem finding 91 e free.
     
  36. tsts4

    tsts4 Line Up and Wait

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    I mean leaded premium—ethanol is a completely different issue. The 540 is not approved to use unleaded 91 “pump” gas from your local Slell/WaWA/ Exxon/ RaceTrac/etc station that I’m aware of. I guess there could an STC out there for a 540 but I only know of ones for the 360. Having said that, there are some pretty nice fuel trailers being sold here at Osh
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
  37. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pre-takeoff checklist

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    So in other words, when I said one of the advantages of the Sling is its ability to use mogas and the (paraphrased) response was so can the RV10, that wasn't exactly accurate. Or at the very least it wasn't an apples/apples comparison.

    The Sling can run on the same fuel that you run your car on which is available virtually everywhere. The RV10, not so much. Advantage Sling IMO.

    Now lets also be fair about the rest of it. The Sling and RV really are two very different airplanes even though they share a similar mission. The RV is a big roomy plane with decent speed for the fuel burn. It might not quite have a Mooney grade speed to fuel burn ratio but it seems pretty close and is a heck of a lot roomier than a Mooney inside.

    The whole focus of the Sling seems to be the same focus that most rotax powered aircraft have which is trying to get more performance and lower fuel burn out of a lighter engine than a comparable power Lycoming/Continental type engine. And to that end, the Sling 4 seems to succeed. It should be cheaper to fly than an RV10, even on identical flights. But it also has a cabin with a lot less room and less useful load.

    For my money, the Sling has a lot going for it and could fit my mission well. I want a 4-place but really only need a 2-place with ample baggage space most of the time. I like the simplicity of operation that goes with the Rotax although I'd no issues with using a traditional throttle/prop/mixture setup. I like that it was designed to have a BRS system from the get go. But it also has that shoulder rubbing 43" cabin width that every 172 on the planet is cursed with and from what I can tell. But on the flip side, as fast as it is for the engine size, its still relatively slow compared to the RV. And from what I can tell, its going to be more expensive to build. Both of which make the RV very attractive by comparison and the RV is a plane that was pretty attractive to begin with.

    I'd say comparing a Sling 4 to an RV10 is like comparing C175 to a Debonair. There are lots of missions where you could use either one, but in the end one is better suited for mostly <200 mile flights and the other is better suited for more >200 flights.
     
  38. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    Great summary here.


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  39. kyleb

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    There are more than a few people using mogas in IO-540's and other 8.5:1 compression Lycomings. It isn't a big issue according to them.

    Transporting the fuel is the big issue.
     
  40. Ray Eaker

    Ray Eaker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Correct. TSTS4 was apparently referring to certified aircraft, which require an STC to use MOGAS. You can run anything you want in an experimental and some even use ethanol laced fuel but designed their fuel system around its limitations (not me).